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Akron Looks for Answers After a Third Fire in 10 Months Kills Young Children

Kymera Cody
AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Officials in Akron continue to investigate a fire that claimed two young girls over the weekend, and to evaluate its fire-safety awareness programs for school children.

Seventh-grader Jada Snowden and kindergartner Kymeria Cody were alive but unresponsive when they were rescued Thursday night from a house fire on Seward Avenue. They died over the weekend.

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JADA SNOWDEN
Credit AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Jayda Snowden and her sister died after a fire broke out in their home Thursday night. They were the ninth Akron school children killed by fires in the last 10 months.

kron Fire spokeswoman Lt. Sierjie Lash says in the past year, the department has been exploring how to reach schoolchildren in the city throughout their lives, starting with a program for kindergarteners through second-graders.

“We go out and we try to reach each classroom in that grade range. We have another program where we try to reach all the cooking classes – both middle school and high school – and then we’ve added programs for the seniors, as well as our smoke trailer for the third and fourth-graders.”

The house had no working smoke detectors, nor did homes where seven schoolchildren died in fires in the past year.

Lash says the city had already been trying to equip more homes with smoke alarms. And she says Akron just received a $108,000 grant from FEMA to equip 500 homes with smoke detectors.

“We go into an average of one to two homes per day, and we are still finding homes that don’t have smoke alarms. And we want to make sure that we can provide that. And they’re free of charge. And we make an appointment and come out and install those so that our residents don’t have to.”

The American Red Cross has information about the smoke detectors and installation on its web site and at (330) 535-2030.

Nine Akron Public Schools students have been killed in house fires in the past 10 months. In a statement released over the weekend, schools Superintendent David James said the district is going to start discussing how students can better protect themselves outside of school hours.

Here is James' statement:

We are saddened by the news of the deaths of Kymeria Cody and Jada Snowden. We are here to help and support their family in any way we can during this difficult time. Our counselors and psychologists will have their teams at Schumacher and Buchtel community learning centers first thing Monday morning to assist classmates of Kymeria and Jada and our staff members who feel these losses profoundly. This is the third time in 10 months we have lost children in house fires in our community.  Nine children have perished.  This has led us to begin discussing working on a better way to help children protect themselves outside of school hours.  Clearly, more must be done.

Here are the number of fatal fires in Akron by year, according to the Beacon Journal.
 
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.